True Lies (1994) – 7/10 James Cameron action movie review

Cast / crew
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Harry [Tasker]
Jamie Lee Curtis: Helen [Tasker]
Tom Arnold: Gib
Bill Paxton: Simon
Tia Carrere: Juno
Art Malik: Aziz
Eliza Dushku: Dana
Grant Heslov: Faisil
Charlton Heston: Spencer Trilby
Screenplay, Director and Producer: James Cameron
Writer (Original Screenplay): Claude Zidi
Writer (Original Screenplay): Simon Michael
Writer (Original Screenplay): Didier Kaminka
Producer: Stephanie Austin

True Lies (1994)

Harry Tasker is a computer salesman or at least that is what his wife thinks, for in reality he is a top secret agent.

7/10

It says something about James Cameron’s directorial skill that this is his worst film. And yet it still contains spectacular, iconic action underscored by interesting, recognisable themes. And yet, despite the largely majestic action, Cameron stumbles with some oddly poor technical (shoddy in-car green screen) and sequence choices (bike jump across a street which could just as easily have been to an adjacent building and a gun tumbling down stairs in excruciating slow motion) and never quite nails the pace and tone of the domestic drama (the goriest moment of the film is supposed to be funny and Arnie’s emotions and actions are at odds). But then we do get Arnie smashing rottweilers, Arnie diving under a sea of fire, Jamie Lee Curtis being plucked from a doomed limo, Arnie destroying terrorists and saving his daughter using a harrier jump jet and Bill Paxton peeing himself. Which is more-than-enough to keep us happy!

This movie contains sexual swear words, strong adult dialogue and graphic violence, extreme violence, unpleasant and gory scenes and sensuality.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

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James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game (2009, PS3) – 6/10 movie action game review

Cast / crew
Lead Game Designer: Benoit MacOn

James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game (2009)

6/10

This is a worthwhile video game prequel tie-in to the movie with a surprising amount to do (action and collection goals) and a combat system that offers a couple of goodies (special powers and a range of weapons all with generous ammo). The first ride on the Banshee is very nice with James Horner’s music and the spectacular scenery combining perfectly. The two runs through the game as a Na’vi and a human are also, surprisingly, not through recycled scenery. They use different environments and require different tactical approaches. As a human, you’re essentially indestructible and unstoppable as long as you don’t get numerically overwhelmed. As a Na’vi, you can be mown down in a matter of seconds at any time. It makes an intriguing difference.

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.
Classified Bad Language by PEGI. Game contains bad language.

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Avatar (2009, James Cameron Science Fiction Action Adventure) – 9/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Writer: James Cameron
Director: James Cameron
Producer: James Cameron
Producer: Jon Landau
Editor: James Cameron
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor: Joe Letteri
Animation Supervisor: Richard Baneham
Animation Supervisor: Andrew R. Jones
Sam Worthington: Jake Sully
Zoë Saldana: Neytiri
Stephen Lang: Colonel Miles Quaritch
Michelle Rodriguez: Trudy Chacon
Giovanni Ribisi: Parker Selfridge
Joel David Moore: Norm Spellman
CCH Pounder: Moat
Wes Studi: Eytukan
Laz Alonso: Tsu’tey
Sigourney Weaver: Grace
Producer Weta: Eileen Moran

Avatar (2009)

Bad news: Jake Sully, your brother is dead. Good news: Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-marine, you can take his place in a remarkable program on alien planet Pandora where your mind will be used to control a fully-functioning nine-foot-tall super-athletic alien body. Your mission is to gain the trust of the natives and convince them to move out of their home so that humans can mine the valuable material buried deep underneath.

9/10

This is an impressive action adventure that has a decidedly old-fashioned feel to it while presenting totally incredible technical feats completely invisibly but whose greatness emerges because it is more than the sum of its parts. It’s old-fashioned in that it sticks to tried-and-true, or predictable, story and character beats, isn’t ‘dark,’ isn’t excessively violent and has superb action sequences which have shape and definition and in which you can tell who’s doing what to whom, why and how well it’s going. The technical accomplishment is remarkable. Cameron presents a fictitious world created out of thin air that is completely convincing. You cannot believe it isn’t real; it does not exist outside of a New Zealand PC. Ultimately, however, Avatar is a great film because it is more than the sum of its parts, i.e., despite faults, it, like Titanic before it, works emotionally.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild swear words and gun violence, giant arrow violence and sexuality.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.